Friday, 30 April 2010

St Bees - 3 andy - 1

Me and a friend on a V3 arete. I couldn't get my lardy arse off the ground last Summer. Crushed it first go this time :0)

St Bees is definitely winning at the moment. After dropping my camera in a rock pool there a couple of weeks ago ( 1-0) i actually dropped my rockshoes in the sea the other day ( 2-0) after slipping on the slimy stuff whilst carrying my kit round a boulder near the edge. Glad it wasn't me that went over and that it was my old comfy shoes. I was trying to fish one back from where it had fallen tantalisingly close on a ledge until i saw my other one bobbing past in the sea. I now have a new camera and was able to take a photo to commemorate my stupidity.

If anyone finds a left anasazi verde on the Isle of Man it's mine

So that was 2-0 and 3-0 soon followed when i was trying the 7A arete at Fisherman's steps. It's supposed to be 'very morpho' and i don't have the morph for it obviously. All sorts of contortions ended with me coming up with a dyno solution. I reckon if you can't use the small holds in between miss them out. I must have been into nearly 3 figures of jumps and still with no success so i scuttled off back home feeling pissed off i wasn't going to get my goal of a 7A and a 7a before the end of April. I am going to get it though. Core and finger strength are needed in abundance.

The weather looked as though it was just holding the next day and although i was feeling a bit sore from the previous days exertions a couple of texts revealed that Chris was going down that evening to do some bolting. He offered to belay me on Dreaming of Red Rocks after he'd finished - very nice of him i thought.

When i got down there i planned on bouldering for a while to warm up then hit the route. However i spied a 7A i laughingly tried last year. I could only do it with a cheating rest half way round and even then it was the pumpiest traverse i'd ever seen. I played on it for a few minutes and this time round it felt possible. Less than an hour later it was in the bag. My new HD video camera let me down big time by hitting a technical glitch and failing to record my glory. Attempting to do it again were useless as i gave it all on the send. No matter, the point was at least i'd got it done. It felt so different to last year. I found 2 rests on it this time that i couldn't use last year and the crux moves were hard but the pumpy traverse that followed felt pedestrian.

3 - 1 !

I'm glad i've come out with something this month as it's been a bit crap to say the least. After being poorly i don't seem to have got a routine back and my diet has gone to pot. Got El Chorro to focus on in 6 weeks though so back to it now with no more excuses.

I want to do Poema De Roca:

which is the pumpiest 7a in the world ( possibly ) so training for Dreaming, which is a 7a+ pump fest won't do any harm. I'm not sure where this willingness to do pumpy routes has come from, i used to hate them. If i can RP Dreaming before El Chorro i'll be laughing.

Dieting ( again), finger boarding ( once my fingers are better ), core work and circuits are going to come into play. Be interesting to see this time round what i've learnt training wise from my previous mistakes.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Yes - I'm ill !

A strange sentiment to be expressing but it gives me a possible reason as to my horrendous performance yesterday, but more of that later.

The Easter holidays saw me abandoned by my professor boffin wife and left with the kids for a week while she went to Oxford to boffin with other boffins; yes, boffin is a noun and a verb.

I got pretty much nil done other than an experiment. Not quite Dr Jekyll testing things on himself but i did want to see what the results of really dieting could be. I soon found out when i dropped to 1500 cals a day from a usual of around 2750. Two 10k runs on consecutive days in the mix led to.........complete depletion of glycogen stores and a distinct lack of energy. What a surprise. I feel a right goon reading what i've just written. Talk about obvious, but i was so wrapped up in the losing weight issue it got a bit scary there for a while. 3 days of eating everything in sight saw me with a full tank again and a lesson learned.

I've learned a lot about nutrition over the last few weeks and now know without writing everything down what's in and what's not, so it's back to long-term sensible weight loss.

Malham was looming and I'd only been climbing once in 2 weeks, a poor ARC session at the wall. I headed to Bees on Tuesday for a few hours of easy bouldering to get the groove back. It was frustratingly bad. Flailing about on V1+2's that i know. No flow, no fluidity, no ability to read/remember a sequence.

My eye caught a V5 i had tried last year and got nowhere on. I don't know why i tried it. As a 4 move V5 it had some hard moves on it - including 2 of my weaknesses, sit starts and a pinch. Well i cracked it off in 4 or 5 goes. I even looked down when i latched the crimp to see if my foot had come off and gone on the floor without me noticing. No one was more surprised than me when i topped it.

Feeling a bit over excited i scoped out the moves on a V4 lip traverse and did it first go. It wasn't pretty, in fact it got a bit ugly for a while, but a flash at that level was new to me so i finished the session happier than when i started - apart from dropping my camera in a rock pool, no photos for a while :0(

The next day I woke feeling battered and empty. Elbows were grumbling, left hand middle two were certainly sore and i felt very empty again. I didn't get to eat until 9pm the night before and had broken my promise of not doing anything over V2. Was i going to regret it ? The clue is in the title of the post really. I had to take 2 rests on a 6a+ warm up. Getting the clips in on Puddlejumper felt like it was Raindogs. My feet appeared to belong to someone else, and that someone else had never climbed before, holds that were bomber last time felt sketchy. Pete kindly remarked i appeared to have all the climbing ability of a goldfish and i binned it for the day. Taking the clips out in a huff Pete persuaded me to leave the rope in - thanks Pete.

I settled down to belay duties and watched Pete despatch a 7a+ after a quick trip up to put the clips in and then a 7b after 1 top rope. Sterling stuff.

After this break, and a lot of food, i started to feel a bit more like it. I had another go and it felt good again. WTF ? Got a new sequence sorted and the scary move now feels in the bag. I was sure that a lead would have been too much on the day, especially for my fingers, but at least i didn't leave with my tail between my legs.

3rd time lucky ? Who knows. A lot of things went wrong yesterday:

Not enough climbing in the weeks leading up to it for a proper performance day
Bouldered way too hard the day before
Didn't eat properly the day before to aid recovery
It was a hot day and my already probably too tight shoes became crippling as my feet swelled
Worrying about my left middle two; rightly it would seem as they are not right ( and not just because they are on the left )
Elbows that stopped grumbling and started shouting
The lurgy

Not excuses as they are all my fault - apart from the lurgy i got that from the kid's school.

I may have to wait a while before a rematch so time for a rethink. Work + partners being away means at least i will have time to recover and come back stronger.

I've a couple of ideas of what to do but that's for another post.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Stickability !

Not referring to the ability to latch a hold but to stick with a process when you think all is lost.

Sat here tapping away it's hard to remember just how pissed off i was a couple of weeks ago. Reading my last post really helps put me back there, and makes me realise what a whinging waster i can be at times :0)

I felt there was a locked door in front of me, with what i wanted behind it, and i couldn't open it.

Things have clicked since and an inspiring day at Malham and strong session at St Bee's have convinced me i was right. I didn't get my 7a, fear of falling kicked in again, but a clean top-rope lets me know it's in the bag next time. A 1 1/2 hr session at Bees North saw me feeling light and strong. An old foe was quickly defeated and 2 V4's i'd got nowhere on before were ticked off. Who'd have thought my old teachers were right. Hard work does bring it's own reward.

The routes session at Penrith did turn out to be the turning point. After a couple of weeks of feeling seriously tired in my arms i was ready to pack up my plans and try something new. I've realised how easy it is to give up when you're not seeing quick results. You convince yourself you're not giving up by bringing in change. This makes you feel you're doing something positive, but actually you're running away.

However, how do you know when you genuinely are banging your head against the proverbial ?

Answers on a postcard please if anyone figures that out. It's especially hard for self coached climbers to stay objective.

When you doubt your training take a good look at it. Then look again. Why that phase ? Why do that way? What goal is it helping you towards ? Does it fit your goal ? What info is it based on and how good is that info ? etc.

Keep on questioning while you stick with it. Once you've reached the point of doubt keep on until you reach a moment of clarity, either for or against. It must be objective clarity, not fogged by your emotions.

Don't try something new and give up before you've had chance to effectively assess it. You never know it might just be the key you've been looking for.